Faculty of Arts & Science
A place to learn, discover, think and do.
Geography at Queen's University

Geography

Location: 
Mackintosh-Corry Hall
Room number: 
D-201
Telephone: 
Department Head: 
Paul Treitz

Undergraduate Program Assistant: Sharon Mohammed
Graduate Program Assistant: Sheila MacDonald

Geography bridges the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. Students in Geography approach problems from ecological and spatial perspectives. An ecological perspective is useful for investigating many environmental and resource management questions that focus upon relationships between humans and the natural environment. Alternatively a spatial perspective is concerned with understanding locational choices and locational relationships underlying human (social, cultural, historical, economic or political) behaviour at geographic scales ranging from the local to the global. The Geography Department offers two ways to boost your resume – a fast-track professional master’s degree in urban and regional planning and a certificate in Geographic Information Science. The fast-track program combines a BA or BSc with a Master’s degree by extending your studies by only 15 months instead of 24 months.

Degree Options

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - BAH or Bachelor of Sciences (Honours) - BScH

Major in Geography
A major is an intensive course of study in one discipline, with approximately half of your courses within the discipline with room for an optional minor in any other Arts and Science discipline.

Medial in Geography (BA only)
A dual course of study in English and any other Arts discipline.

Minor in Geography
A minor is a less intensive course of study in the discipline that must be combined with a major in another discipline.

Bachelor of Arts - BA or Bachelor of Science - BSc

General in Geography
A less intense course of study leading to a 3-year degree.

Full list of Undergraduate Degree Plans at Queen's University

Graduate Degree Options

Geography - PhD
Geography - MA
Geography - MSc

First Year Courses

To pursue a Plan in GPHY(Arts)

  • GPHY 101/3.0 and 102/3.0

To pursue a Plan in GPHY(Science)

  • GPHY 101/3.0
  • GPHY 102/3.0
  • And two of: CHEM 112/6.0: 6.0 units from MATH at the 100-level, PHYS 104/6.0 or PHYS 106/6.0 or PHYS 117/6.0

What it takes to study Geography in your second year >

Click here for the complete list of Courses in Arts and Science

Study Abroad with Geography

For students in Geography Plans, study abroad is normally undertaken during their third year. Students may take one or two terms of study at the Bader International Study Centre in their second or third year.  Students participating in any international study program are expected to meet all fourth year prerequisites by the end of third year and need to plan their programs accordingly.

For students in Geography Plans, study abroad is normally undertaken during their third year. Students may take one or two terms of study at the Bader International Study Centre in their second or third year. Students participating in any international study program are expected to meet all fourth year prerequisites by the end of third year and need to plan their programs accordingly. 

Accelerated Degree Program

Background

The coordinated degree program is intended to help geography students who want a fast-track professional degree in urban and regional planning. The coordinated degree program makes it possible for geography students to finish their BA / B.Sc. and MPL. degrees in less time than it would take to pursue the degrees independently.

Geography and city planning are related fields. Geographers often consider the spatial implications of urban and regional issues and have a special focus on place. It is quite natural, therefore, to consider the integration of the two related fields. Today urban and regional planning is a broad field and people with different backgrounds are needed for the different work that is done by planners. The multi-disciplinary dimensions of urban planning provide students with a breadth of options to pursue in their studies.

Having both the geography and planning degrees offers the practical advantage of increasing professional qualifications that will broaden employment prospects. The skills gained by taking both programs will prepare graduates for work in urban planning, GIS, transportation, environmental studies, social planning and urban development. Many planning graduates who have geography backgrounds have found responsible and rewarding positions in municipal or provincial governments, and consulting practices across Canada.

The coordinated degree program allows students to finish the M.PL. degree requirements in about 15 months after receiving their geography degree provided they take two of their Geography electives in planning and an additional two planning courses while they are still in the Geography program.

Academic Requirements

The coordinated program is suited to highly motivated students who have at least an 80% grade average in Geography courses in the previous year. The combination of planning and geography skills will be especially useful for those hoping to work in urban planning, GIS, transportation, environmental studies, social planning and urban development. Students are required to maintain at least an "A" average in Geography courses and at least a "B+" in Planning courses.

Description

Eligible students from Geography can get a Master of Urban and Regional Planning (M.Pl.) degree by extending their studies 15 months instead of the usual two years. Successful applicants to the fast-track program will be expected to have taken four Planning courses (all half-term courses) during their third and/or fourth year in Geography.

  • Two SURP courses would be taken as electives as part of the Geography program.
  • Two other SURP courses could be taken as additional electives.

This increase in your fourth-year workload can help you save one academic year in the Master's degree program.

Students taking an Honours seminar in Geography may find it advantageous to develop a topic related to urban and regional planning.

High School Background Required

Arts (BA) concentrations: No specific high school course is required to pursue a BA or BA (Honours) program in Geography

Science (BSc) concentrations: At least two of 4U Advanced Functions and Introductory Calculus, Chemistry Physics or recognized equivalents required; subjects of specialization concentrations require all three. Any Grade 4U or M Geography or recognized equivalent is recommended.

Job and Career Opportunities for Geography Grads

Geography examines relationships involving human beings in their natural and built environments; it is the study of people, places, and environments from a spatial perspective. With long-standing teaching and research traditions in the natural and social sciences as well as the humanities, the discipline is uniquely positioned to contribute to the analysis of a wide variety of con temporary social and environmental problems and public policy issues.

Some of our Geography grads work in the following industry:

  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Anthropology
  • Demography
  • Education
  • Environmental Conservation, Engineering, Management
  • Farming
  • Forestry
  • Geology
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Health Administration & Public Health
  • Immigration Services
  • Industrial
  • Engineering
  • International Trade & Development
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Lobbying
  • Logistics Mapping, Surveying and Cartography
  • Mathematics
  • Meteorology
  • Mining
  • Engineering
  • Oceanography
  • Police Work
  • Political Science
  • Public Relations
  • Publishing
  • Real Estate
  • Transportation
  • Travel & Tourism
  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Water conservation
  • Wildlife conservation

Career paths for Geography grads handout from Career Services >

Geography Electives for Non-Geography Students

GPHY 101/3.0 Human Geography
The fundamentals of human geography including the meanings of place, the impacts of globalization, multiculturalism, population change and movement, environmental history and politics, cultural geography, issues of uneven resource distribution, the role of colonialism in the modern shape of the world, agricultural geography, and urban geography.

GPHY 102/3.0 Earth System Science
This course introduces the major concepts studied in Earth System Science. The fundamental processes and interrelationships between the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and the lithosphere are investigated to serve as a basis for understanding natural systems, particularly at or near the Earth's surface.

GPHY 104/3.0 Forests as a Global Resource
Forests are a critical global resource, contai ning significant biodiversity, regulating CO 2 in the atmosphere, and providing cultural and economic benefits to society. Yet forests are threatened by over-harvesting, fire, development and environmental change. This course examines the ecology, distribution, and sustainability of the world’s forests.

GPHY 103/3.0 Water Resources
Water is becoming a major global issue due to increased demand and pollution pressures. This course examines dimensions of the world’s need for this critical resource. Topics include water distributi on and availability, different users, water treatment, pollution issues, freshwater ecosys tem conservation, and water management and allocation.

Certificate in Geographic Information Science

The Geography Department of the Faculty of Arts and Science offers a study option leading to a Certificate in Geographic Information Science. This option is available to all Queen’s University undergraduate students regardless of their degree concentration, and is intended for those who wish to enhance their undergraduate degree with a Geographic Information Science Certificate.

Graduate Studies

Masters

There are two program options for Master's students:

  • Completion of GPHY 857 (Masters Research Seminar) plus four graduate term-length courses and a full thesis; or
  • Completion of six graduate term-length courses and a half-thesis.

The program may be completed in one year, but the normal time to completion is two years (or five terms).

Ph.D.

Admission is based upon the completion of a Master's degree or its equivalent at a superior level at a recognized university. In exceptional circumstances, resident Master's students may be accelerated into the Ph.D. program. The program involves satisfying the following requirements:

  • Course work. Satisfactory completion of a minimum of three graduate one-term courses including GPHY 801 (a one-term equivalent Ph.D. Research Seminar) beyond the Master's degree.
  • Qualifying Examination. Undertaken upon completion of all coursework, usually during the fall term of the second year of study. The examination focuses on the preparation and defence of a thesis proposal and its field of study.
  • Dissertation. Completion and oral defence of a doctoral dissertation.

The program may be completed within three years of full-time study. Students are eligible for funding for the first four years of the program.

Graduate Research Areas

The Department of Geography offers graduate training leading to the degrees of Master of Arts, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in the following areas:

  1. Work, Identity, and Place
  2. Globalization, Development, Economies and Sustainability
  3. Bodies, Health, and Health Care 
  4. Citizenship, Identity, Justice and Governance
  5. Postcolonialism, Indigenous Peoples and Place
  6. Earth System Science
  7. Geographic Information Science
  8. School of Urban and Regional Planning and Geography Department Coordinated Degree Program

Departmental Support

In 2013-2014, the minimum level of support from all sources for first year full-time graduate students is $14,000.00 for Master's and $18,000 for Ph.D. students. Support typically consists of a teaching/research assistantship and a Queen’s Graduate Award, but any combination of internal/external award may be used to reach this level. Students may be eligible for additional funding. Established in January 2001 by an anonymous donor to the Department of Geography at Queen's University. Awarded to a full-time graduate student in the Department of Geography on the basis of academic excellence, and meaningful research and study. This Fellowship will be awarded annually to a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D., M.Sc. or M.A. Value: $15,000. This award is especially targeted towards graduate students pursuing degrees in physical geography.

Graduate Program enquiries can be directed to:

Dr. Laura Cameron
Graduate Coordinator
Department of Geography
613-533-6030
cameron@queensu.ca

Research in Geography at Queen's

1. Work, Identity, and Place
Labour geographies; labour market restructuring and regulation; international divisions of labour; labour migration; knowledge, creativity and skills; employment equity; entrepreneurship; gender divisions of labour.
Faculty: Donald, Holmes, Kobayashi, Mullings, McDonald.

2. Globalization, Development, Economies and Sustainability
Effects of globalization neoliberalism and the new economy; development economies and restructuring; industrial geographies; commodity chains and cultural economy; economy and governance; innovation; transnational economies; political economies of cities; global change and health; international political economy.
Faculty: Donald, Holmes, Lovell, Mabee, Mullings, Rosenberg, McDonald.

3. Bodies, Health, and Health Care
The human and social body; socio/historical constructions of bodies; bodies and nature; access to health care; gender and health; emotional geographies; aging; demographic change; critical disability studies; food, nutrition, and food security; health and environment; environmental justice.
Faculty: Cameron, Davidson, Donald, Rosenberg.

4. Citizenship, Identity, Justice and Governance
Immigration; race and racism; feminist geographies; citizenship participation and social justice; social movements; identity, multiculturalism, and cosmopolitanism; urban citizenship; indigenous social justice (historical and contemporary); access to services; urban governance; urban land use planning and change; housing.
Faculty: Cameron, Chen, Davidson, Godlewska, Kobayashi, Mullings, Rosenberg, McDonald.

5. Postcolonialism, Indigenous Peoples and Place
Historical and contemporary: practices of representation; indigenous places; literary geographies; colonial and postcolonial discourses; emotional geographies of place; cultural politics of race, class, and gender; geographies of nature and science.
Faculty: Cameron, Godlewska, Kobayashi, Lovell, Mullings, Rosenberg.

6. Earth System Science
The broad emphasis in the field of Earth System Science is on developing an integrative understanding of the Earth as a physical system of interrelated phenomena. The focus is on the interaction and linkages between the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere and on physical, chemical, and biological processes operating at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Measurement, integration, and modelling of earth system elements to understand these linkages are key foci of research and graduate training activities. Field measurements and sample collection are matched with laboratory and data analysis, and modelling.

The overlapping foci of faculty research fall into two broad themes: Forest Ecosystems and Cold Regions. The former emphasises the primary biophysical and physiological processes of forest systems (especially boreal), exchange of energy, water, and trace gases, and local and regional integration with remote sensing and modelling approaches. The latter focus operates across diverse polar and alpine environments, with emphasis on hydrological, marine, geomorphic and biogeochemical processes and sedimentary systems.
Faculty: Chen, Danby, Gilbert, Lafrenière, Lamoureux, Mabee, McCaughey, Scott, Treitz.

7. Geographic Information Science
Faculty examine the theoretical, technical and applied aspects of cartography, geographic information systems, remote sensing and image processing, and modeling of human and natural systems.

Specific research interests include: contemporary and historical cartography; land cover/use change detection and analysis; disease modeling; mapping/modeling human impacts on the environment; social, economical, and environmental interaction; biophysical remote sensing; image processing; resource/location optimization; geo-visualization; environmental exposure analysis; accuracy and error modeling.
Faculty: Barber, Chen, Danby, Godlewska, Scott, Treitz.

8. School of Urban and Regional Planning and Geography Department Coordinated Degree Program

The coordinated degree program is intended to help geography students who want a fast-track professional degree in urban and regional planning. The coordinated degree program makes it possible for geography students to finish their BA / B.Sc. and MPL. degrees in less time than it would take to pursue the degrees independently.

Geography and city planning are related fields. Geographers often consider the spatial implications of urban and regional issues and have a special focus on place. It is quite natural, therefore, to consider the integration of the two related fields. Today urban and regional planning is a broad field and people with different backgrounds are needed for the different work that is done by planners. The multi-disciplinary dimensions of urban planning provide students with a breadth of options to pursue in their studies.
Faculty: Donald

Have Questions?

Call us at 613-533-2470 or email us.

Follow Us

  • Facebook
  • Twitter